5. Things to think about this week

13th June 2008 at 01:00
1. Visit a noteworthy event
1. Visit a noteworthy event

Organise a trip to the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham this summer. It's an annual reminder of what education is really about - a real pre-holiday lifting of the spirit. I have learnt more about music-making in schools from my long association with this festival than from any other source. It's all there on show - ideas about repertoire, presentation, ways of teaching. Above all, though, there's the very visible effect that music in school has on relationships at every level, between teachers, children and families.

Key point: This year, 10,000 children - over 300 groups of 4- to 19-year-olds - will perform in Birmingham Symphony Hall and other nearby venues. From July 7-12.


2. Put the bricks on hold

Are your teachers worried about classroom behaviour? A few probably think of little else. It's easy to nod sympathetically, apply "ton of bricks" therapy to a few miscreants, and then return to planning the new building. But for everyone's sake, including your own, it's worth looking at what's available by way of expertise on behaviour management. The National Association for Special Educational Needs has a series of conferences on behaviour. The work of Rob Long and Dave Vizard, behaviour experts, feature in these events, and even if you can't go, their websites are worth exploring.

Key point: Managing Behaviour conferences are running in Strathclyde on October 4, Northampton on October 10 and Hull on November 14.

www.nasen.org.uk; www.roblong.co.uk; http:behaviourmatters.com

3. Bone up on the latest logic

It's a good idea to keep up with the the Nuffield Review of 14-19 education. The team continues to produce its series of issues papers. The latest, on The Whole Curriculum, has cogent and relentlessly logical things to say about why curriculum development has to start with teachers. The next one, on the place of the humanities, is due any time. All of them bear the unmistakable stamp of Professor Richard Pring, the review's lead director, an observer of, and participant in, every significant curriculum development since the 1960s.


4. Help boys to break through

Find out the latest in the area of boys' achievement. Since 2003, the Improvement Foundation has worked with 145 schools on a series of one-year breakthrough programmes aimed at raising attainment among underperforming boys. The results are uniformly good and often remarkable. Now they are looking for schools to take part in 2008-9. Details, and the latest newsletter, are to be found on their website.


5. Let them eat cake

There's just something about cake, isn't there? It's the look on a young teacher's face when she finds it's someone's birthday and there are mega-calorie cream cakes in the staffroom. ("Mmmpph! Oh God, I shouldn't be doing this!") That's why Caketime, the end-of-term fundraiser run by Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, is so appealing. You and your pupils can finish the term in a glorious and shameless orgy of cake-making, decorating and, of course, eating. There's lots of information, including recipe cards, on the website.


Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh at gerald.haigh@btinternet.com

Inspirational - and Cautionary - Tales for Would-be School Leaders, Gerald Haigh's latest book based on his weekly TES column, is published by Routledge, price pound;15.99.

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